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HTC says Apple would rather sue than compete 'fairly in the market'

Responding to the latest legal challenge from Apple, people speaking for handset maker HTC on Tuesday said they are "disappointed" that Apple is suing its competitors "instead of competing fairly in the market."

The comments were made by HTC general counsel Grace Lei in a statement provided to Agence France Press. HTC responded to a new complaint filed last week, in which Apple asked the U.S. International Trade Commission once again to block to the import of hardware the company believes infringes on patents it owns.

"HTC is disappointed at Apple's constant attempts at litigations instead of competing fairly in the market," Lei reportedly said. "HTC strongly denies all infringement claims by Apple in the past and present and reiterates our determination and commitment to protect our intellectual property rights."

The report noted that patent lawsuits are common in the mobile industry, but mistakenly said that Apple and Nokia are currently suing each other for patent infringement. That dispute was resolved last month, when Apple agreed to pay Nokia for licenses and both companies agreed to withdraw their complaints from the ITC.

But Apple is still engaged in a legal fight with Samsung at the ITC, with a new filing made last week. Apple's latest complaint requested the commission block the import of Samsung devices, including its Galaxy S phone and Galaxy Tab touchscreen tablet.

Apple's fight with HTC began in March of 2010 when the iPhone maker accused the Taiwanese company of infringing on 20 patents related to the iPhone's user interface, underlying architecture and hardware. In an accompanying statement, Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said he believes competition in the industry is "healthy," but that competitors like HTC should not "steal" Apple's technology.

HTC last year responded in kind, with a lawsuit that accuses Apple of infringing on five patents. As is standard practice, HTC asked the ITC to ban the import of Apple products into America, including the iPhone, iPad and iPod lineup.